The bill would allow nonprofit technology refurbishers to obtain, refurbish, and distribute surplus government computers for veterans, students, and seniors in need.
SEPTEMBER 28, 2022, WASHINGTON, DC – The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee advanced bipartisan legislation on Wednesday to help close the digital divide.
Introduced in the Senate by Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), the bill provides surplus government computers to nonprofit computer refurbishers, who would then repair and distribute them to veterans and others who need them. The bill now awaits a floor vote in the Senate.
"This bipartisan bill will help more veterans, students, and seniors have access to a computer, which will help them to do everything from completing homework to making doctor's appointments. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to pass this common sense, bipartisan bill.”Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) Tweet
A national nonprofit focused on advancing digital equity through device ownership, Digitunity has supported the bill since it was first introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Abigail Spanberger in 2021 as the Computers for Veterans and Students Act. The bill aligns with Digitunity’s mission to eliminate the technology gap so everyone can thrive in our digital society.
The bill would direct the General Services Administration to transfer out of service, repairable government computers to nonprofit refurbishers. The refurbishers would then repair and distribute those devices to people particularly impacted by the digital divide, including low income individuals, veterans, students, and people with disabilities. Additionally, the legislation would require each nonprofit computer refurbisher to provide training programs in the use of this technology.
In July 2022, the U.S. House unanimously passed this bipartisan legislation. Digitunity and a wide array of local, regional, and national organizations support this legislation because directing federal surplus devices to nonprofit refurbishers provides a common-sense way to help close the technology gap, especially at a time when the need for free or low-cost devices is simply staggering.
“Owning a computer is the foundation of digital equity and it unlocks opportunities for folks to participate in the modern economy. Thanks to Senator Hassan and the support of the committee, this bill now moves to the Senate floor. If passed, it will make a large supply of free and low-cost devices available to veterans, students, seniors, and others who need them.”Scot Henley, Executive Director, Digitunity Tweet